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January 17, 2012

News & Notes

By: Jimmy Robertson

Several Hokies undergo surgery

With the season now over, several members of the Virginia Tech football underwent surgery to repair various injuries, including tailback Tony Gregory, receiver D.J. Coles, and offensive linemen Michael Via and Nick Acree.

Gregory, a rising redshirt junior from Virginia Beach, Va., tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee a few weeks before the Sugar Bowl game against Michigan and underwent surgery on Jan. 5. He was able to play in the game, but came out after feeling pain in the knee while returning a kickoff late in the first half.

Via, a rising redshirt senior from McLeansville, N.C., also suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the latter part of the season. Like Gregory, he underwent surgery on Jan. 5, preferring to play in the Sugar Bowl first.

Contrary to what many read and hear about, some players actually can play with a torn ACL. It depends on the individual player and how he/she feels.

Coles, a rising senior from Maidens, Va., underwent surgery to repair a posterior cruciate ligament injury in his right knee. He suffered the injury several weeks ago and played in pain during the November stretch run of Tech’s season and the bowl game.

Acree, a rising redshirt sophomore from King William, Va., underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.

Beamer lobbies for “plus-one” format

At a Sugar Bowl press conference Tech head coach Frank Beamer fielded a question concerning the future of college football and the potential changes coming with the BCS. He used the opportunity to tout the advantage of a “plus-one” system – a format that appears to be gaining some traction.

Under a version of this format, the top four teams in the BCS would play, with the top team playing the No. 4 team in the standings and the No. 2 squad playing the No. 3 team. The two winners would meet to determine the national championship. The rest of the bowl system would remain intact.

A few years back, I thought it was gaining some momentum,” Beamer said of the format. “And I really thought that was a good idea. The reason I thought it was the way to go is when we played Auburn here in the Sugar Bowl, and Auburn was an undefeated team. There were two other undefeated teams that year, and Auburn was good enough to play for the national championship.”

Some people argue that four teams aren’t enough, and those in this group want to expand the format to include eight or even 16 teams. But Beamer hasn’t yet joined that group.

“Generally, there are about four teams that really deserve to play for the national championship,” he said. “Some years, there are more. There always would be controversy about the fifth team, but not as much, I think, as with the third team.

“So to me, I think that's the best solution right now, and I understand that it's [the idea of a plus-one format] coming back around a little bit. I'd like to see us go in that direction.”

Carroll teaching teammate to snap

Tech long snapper Collin Carroll has served numerous roles this past season, both on and off the field. Those roles include long snapper, public speaker, promotions M.C., and radio and video personality. But he’s adding another one – teacher.

Toward the end of the season, Carroll spent some time working with tight end Chris Drager on long snapping, Drager, who caught 15 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns as a senior this past season, wants to make himself more versatile for NFL teams. He’ll be working out in front of NFL scouts the next few months in preparation for April’s NFL Draft.

“I think he [Drager] wants to snap at pro day,” Carroll said. “He’s got the perfect frame for it, so Joe St. Germain and I have been working with him, and he’s pretty darn good. He could probably be just as good as me.”

But Carroll knows that long snapping is an art and not anyone can pick up that art. In fact, he still laughs at watching Tyrod Taylor, arguably one of the greatest athletes in Tech history, trying to long snap last year – just for fun – during a practice.

“The best I’ve felt about myself as a human and as an athlete was when Tyrod grabbed the ball and tried to snap it,” Carroll said. “He dribbled it back there and looked like my grandma snapping it. I find refuge in that Tyrod Taylor is not as good of a long snapper as me.”